Bullet Journaling

[Bullet Journal] The HOW I Use Mine, Part I

Last month, I introduced to you the bullet journal system and why I decided to use this planning system over all the other options out there. For those of you who don’t remember or never read that post (and simply do not have the time nor mental energy to go back and read it), here’s the short version:

First, to find out the fundamentals of the system, I have not discovered better resources than this video:

Seriously…isn’t it awesome? God bless, Ryder Carroll
(the man who came up with the system).

I then expounded upon the two major reasons I chose this system over all the other amazing systems out there (I mean, there are some pretty fantastically beautiful systems out there!!).

  1. It’s functional, and can be continuously adjusted to meet my changing needs.
  2. It’s a “blank canvas” that allows me to make it whatever I want.

But once I had chosen the bullet journal system, I had to figure out exactly what I would use it for. While the “blank canvas” allows me to make it what I want it to be, it also means I need to purposefully decide what should be included.

Knowing me, I would probably gravitate towards including everything and
anything I see that “looks cool,” even if it simply become clutter in the end. 
So I had to be careful and focused in my choosing what to include.

Don’t get me wrong. I do like to watch YouTube videos and read blogs by other, more experienced bullet journaling gurus for inspiration (my favorites: Boho Berry and Ms. Cendolife). But from the beginning, my goal was to keep my bullet journal as simple as possible, focusing on what would be most functional for ME. I do want to SLOWLY flesh out my bullet journal system over time, incorporating some of the ideas that those “gurus” use to take their productivity to the next level. But right now, I just want to keep my day-to-day tasks in order just so I get what is absolutely essential done.

Honestly, with being a first-time, working mom to a rambunctious toddler, 
I feel I already have my hands full without assigning myself additional projects.

So this week, I present to you what I included in the task planning portion of my system from the onset of my BuJo journey to now, as well as what I do and do not continue to use today.

The Future Log 

Ryder Carroll uses a “Future Log” in his system to do his yearly planning. Truthfully, I found this part of the bullet journal system unnecessary for me. I do all of my year-out planning through iCal (linked to my desktop, laptop, iPad, and iPhone).

Photo May 09, 9 49 32 AM

 

So while I did set up a “Year-at-a-Glance” spread in my journal, I rarely reference it at all.

But one thing I DO incorporate in my bullet journal is a yearly goals spread. This a checklist of things I want to accomplish by the end of the year. As time goes by, I will either check off the item as completed, forward the task to another month, or simply cross off a goal if it is no longer relevant.

Photo May 09, 9 50 14 AM

The Monthly Spread

So this is one of those spreads that was inspired by the awesome Boho Berry. This is one that had taken the bullet journal community BY STORM, as many began adopting it and using it (quite effectively too). So, of course, I had to try this out as well.

Photo May 09, 9 50 34 AM

I had hoped this would be used as a reference for the goings-on of the month. Let me tell you, this spread was not used AT ALL after I put it together. But I kept at it through March 2016, just because everyone else used it, and therefore I should too.

But then, the very creator of this spread (Boho Berry) decided to let it go because she found she was not using the spread as she had originally intended for future planning (check out her March 2016 Bullet Journal Setup HERE). This completely blew me away and changed my bullet journaling mindset. If I’m not using a certain spread, and it is not helpful to me in any real way, why should I spend time putting it together?

So, my monthly spread turned into this…

Photo May 09, 9 50 57 AM

Not only is this format more useful to me than the other spread, I can fit my entire monthly view on one page, leaving me to be able to include new things (like the #RockYourHandwriting Challenge prompts, hosted on Instagram by @boho.berry, @decadethirty, @prettyprintsandpaper, and @tinyrayofsunshine).

Function over form, folks…function over form. I’m still learning this.

The Dailies

Now my Daily spread is completely my own.

Photo May 09, 9 51 29 AM

I started out with this format, and have stuck to it since. It works for me really well at the moment, and I’m getting more done during the day because it works so well for me. I did alter it from having 2 days per page to 1 (since I started the #RockYourHandwriting Challenge), but the general look has remained. I like the uniformity and the ability to fill the empty spaces with handwriting and little memories from the day.

Here’s a completed spread:

Photo May 09, 9 52 14 AM

I would have thought the messiness of this would bother me, but in truth, it makes me happy to know that my days of filled with such messy, but wonderful moments. To see all the check boxes filled makes my heart happy…which inspires me to get things done.

And those “8 a Day” stickers…how can you NOT drink at least 8 cups
of water a day when you have such CUTE STICKERS to keep you on track?
(I made them using a cute water bottle pic I found online.)

While I’ve attempted to incorporate some of the cute/cool things I’ve seen in other people’s dailies, I’ve always just come back to this…and I think this is how it will remain until I’m ready to take on more projects in my life.

The Weekly Spread & Task/Habit Trackers

This is the most recent addition to my bullet journal planning system.

Photo May 09, 9 51 17 AM

Again, this spread has been inspired by this video from Boho Berry (seriously, people, just go visit her website/YouTube channel now…you can thank me later). And without a doubt, it has changed my planning life!! Unlike the old monthly view I used to have, I DO look at this and reference this EVERYDAY!! It is so much easier to look at a week view to make sure I’m getting everything done day to day than a monthly view.

A couple things I added to the weekly view are weekly trackers – one for all of that week’s prayer requests and praises, and one for some things I am aiming to incorporate into my daily routine. And as funny as it sounds, being able to check things off like this does give me motivation to do these things.

A lot of bullet planners use monthly trackers. But for me, this does not work. I like seeing COMPLETED checklists, and not being able to complete one until the end of the month doesn’t motivate me enough to do them. So, I keep the tracked tasks/habits on my dailies, which I then go back at the end of the day and fill into my weekly trackers. Again, it’s what works for me…and I am slowly learning to incorporate these new habits into my daily routine.

So…what is the point of all this?

The point of my bullet journal (or any planning system, for that matter) is to help me accomplish what I need to get done during the day/week/month/year. All the while, I use it to assist me in motivating me to stay on task, keep up with healthy routines, and simply GET. THINGS. DONE!! And what’s great about a bullet journal system is that it’s completely free form, which means I can adjust and add new things as I need to as my planning needs evolve. And if something doesn’t work, I can simply not use it the next week/month, and move on to something that does.

And that is the lesson I have learned from bullet journal planning so far –
focus on what works, not just what “looks cool,” so that the planner works for ME,
and NOT the other way around.

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